Studies in the Arts (SINTA)

Portraits of doctoral students

Catalina Agudin

+41 31 631 54 75
Postal Address
Universität Bern
Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities (GSAH)
Doktoratsprogramm Studies in the Arts (SINTA)
Catalina Agudin
Muesmattstrasse 45
3012 Bern

Catalina Agudin

Catalina Agudin was born on 1st November 1985 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
She has been living in Bern since 2012 (C Permit, Second nationality: Italy), is married to Lukas Knecht and mother of Milo (2017).
In January 2019 Catalina successfully finished the Master “Integrative Design” at the FHNW (Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Basel). Score: 5.5.
She received in 2010 her Degree in Industrial Design at the Architects, Design and Urbanism Faculty (FADU), University of Buenos Aires (UBA). These studies last 5 years in Argentina.
July 2011—present | Working as a freelance designer in different Design-Projects in Argentina/Switzerland. December 2014—present | Working as a spanish teacher at Sprachart, Bern.
July 2018—December 2018 | Substitution of the school direction at Sprachart, Bern (due to maternity leave). December 2012—December 2014 | She worked as a graphic designer in Ionesoft, Switzerland (Polygraf und Graphik Design). She is still working as a freelance designer for this company.
In 2011 Created tonocoté shoes. Designed products and image of the brand, does administration of the entire project.
April 2010—July 2011 | Worked in the design department of the marketing agency Prado in Buenos Aires. August 2008—Juli 2010 | Led the design area of the NGO Arte y Esperanza. She also coordinated design work-shops within two aboriginal communities in the North of Argentina.
March 2010—December 2012 taught “Industrial Design” in class led by Prof. I.D. Beatriz Galán in the Faculty FADU, UBA
In 2010 carried out a research work on wooden products manufactured by aboriginal communities for the FADU, UBA
In July 2018 attended a shoe design course at the  “Instituto di Moda Burgo”, Milano.
2004 bis 2005 attended a photography course at the school “Escuela Argentina de Fotogra


Prof. Dr. Heinzpeter Znoj, Institut für Sozialanthropologie, Universität Bern
Dr. des. Minou Afzali, Forschungsschwerpunkt Kommunikationsdesign, Hochschule der Künste Bern HKB

Doctoral project

Revaluation of Wichi traditions. Applying Ethnological and Design methods in a co-working project with the Argentinian aboriginal community.

Catalina Agudin had during her studies in Buenos Aires a crucial experience: she worked for a project with aboriginal communities in the North of Argentina. Afterwards, she started an own shoe brand including a handmade textile of the Wichi aboriginal women and did a Master in FHNW developing a new shoe collection and studying concepts such as Social Design and Participatory Design, also interviewing other projects working in this field.
She wants to continue working in Social Design, carrying out a participatory design project within the Wichi group aiming to valorize techniques of this antique culture. The fact that traditional knowledge is being lost and that young generations have difficulties for finding perspectives drives to the question of how design can help bringing innovation in such a context. With ethnological tools for a proper research of the actual situation of the community and design tools for answering needs and wills of the people involved, Catalina plans to carry out a co-work to try out the method of participative design in an open-ended way, involving the people, for them to be protagonists of a social change.

Research priorities

Wichi Aboriginal Community, Latin America / Combining ethnographic and design methods, Ethnographic Fieldwork, Social Design, Participatory Design, Co-Creation, Social Innovation, Ethnography